The Charlottetown Islanders are back at the Eastlink Centre tonight as they take on Souris native Jack Campbell and the upstart Drummondville Voltigeurs.
The 16-year-old Campbell surprised many when he was named to Drummondville’s final roster after being selected in the 6th round, 99th overall, by the Voltigeurs in the 2019 QMJHL Draft. He’s scored once in 15 games this season after a strong 2018-2019 season with the major midget Kensington Wild.
He and his Voltigeurs (12-7-0-0) have jumped out to a surprising start to the season. Believed by many to fall to the bottom of the league after a number of key losses that included Maxime Comtois, Joe Veleno, Nicolas Beaudin, and former Islander Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Drummondville currently sits seventh overall in the QMJHL and third in the Western Conference.
Offensively, the team has been led by a pair of draft-eligible forwards, Dawson Mercer and Xavier Simoneau. Mercer, who is projected by scouts to be a first-round selection in the 2020 NHL Draft, currently sits seventh in the QMJHL with 31 points in just 19 games. His 16 goals are good for second among all players. Simoneau isn’t far behind him, boasting 17 assists and 26 points so far this season.
The team recently received a shot in the arm offensively as over-age forward Brandon Skubel returned to the lineup this past weekend from injury. The Niagara Falls native is coming off a 2018-2019 season that saw him record 54 points in 68 games. The Voltigeurs traded forward Remy Anglehart over the weekend to make room for the returning Skubel.
Meanwhile here in Charlottetown, the Islanders (11-4-3-0) remain in a heated battle early on in the Eastern Conference standings, locked in a three-way tie for third in the conference with the Cape Breton Eagles and Rimouski Oceanic. They’re looking to keep the momentum rolling after a 3-2 victory over the Acadie-Bathurst Titan Saturday night, where the offense was supplied by their depth scoring.
Xavier Fortin is slowly starting to heat up for the Islanders. The 17-year-old Mirabel native turned in a multi-point effort Saturday, including the game-winner. He now has five points over his past five games and is well on track to surpass the 11 points he recorded last season as a rookie.
The team received some good news as Liam Peyton returns to the line-up following a thumb injury. The news wasn’t all good however, as Xavier Bernard (upper-body), Thomas Casey (upper-body), and Lukas Cormier (ankle) all remain out with injury. Oscar Plandowski and Jacob Goobie also remain on international assignment with Team Canada at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Tickets are still available for tonight’s game by visiting the Eastlink Centre box office, by phone at 902-629-6625, or online at https://boxoffice.eastlinkcentrepei.com. Don’t forget that it’s student night! Tickets are just $3.50 for anyone with a valid student ID, while all 19+ beverages are also only $3.50!